So, with much more grovelling and much less ado, I present you with the challenge for August:
Yes, ladies and...ladies, it's time to roll up your sleeves and get a little AU. If you're anything like me and you've finished Deathly Hallows, you might now and then find yourself gazing out the window in the middle of the day and heaving a wistful sigh, thinking how you might have finished out the series, fantasizing about who you'd let live and to which ships you might give a swift, merciful kick. (This is sad, and sadly true.)
So, the gist of the challenge is this: take your character(s) or pairings back in time and change just one thing about their lives. It could be a single moment in time that happens just a bit differently than it does in canon; it could be your character stumbling across someone he never met canonically. What if Lily didn't have a sister? What if Hermione did? What might have happened if Dumbledore had died earlier in the series? How might things have gone if Harry had been placed in Slytherin? Re-imagine the one scene that bothers you, or put your favourite impossible ship into play and let us see what unfolds and what changes the relationship might inspire.
There are plenty of moments throughout the Potter series that are ripe for the tweaking; things otherwise insignificant that in your hands might have turned the series on its ear. This of course means plently of opportunities for Mary Sues, so I'll ask you to leave them under the bed where mine are. :) I look forward to stretching my creative muscles, and also to seeing what you all come up with.